Moldovan faces US trial for selling stolen credentials

A Moldovan national has been extradited and charged in a Florida federal court for selling illegal access to computers, the Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced.

Sandu Diaconu, 31, was extradited from the United Kingdom at the request of authorities in the US, where he stands accused of operating the illegal website E-Root Marketplace for years, which allegedly sold illicit access to devices used by American businesses and citizens.

However, the DoJ adds that victims were not limited to the US but spanned the globe and claims that many were “subject to ransomware attacks,” with “stolen credentials listed on the Marketplace linked to stolen identity tax fraud schemes.”

The DoJ says an investigation led by the IRS and FBI uncovered credentials to more than 350,000 computers for sale on the website, which was taken down in 2020 after a seizure order was issued against the domain name.

“E-Root Marketplace operated across a widely distributed network and took steps to hide the identities of its administrators, buyers, and sellers,” it added. “Buyers could search for compromised computer credentials [...] by desired criteria such as price, geographic location, internet service provider, and operating system.”

The DoJ further alleges that Diaconu and one unnamed accomplice used the online payment system Perfect Money to help conceal illegal customer purchases.

“It also offered its illicit cryptocurrency exchange service for the purpose of converting Bitcoin to Perfect Money and vice-versa,” said the DoJ, adding that this exchange had also been seized.

If found guilty, Diaconu faces up to 20 years in a US federal prison.

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